PetroChina, one of the largest buyers of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the key LNG demand growth market, has offered the lowest bid in an LNG tender in Pakistan, in a sign that the Asian market continues to be oversupplied even after the winter heating season began.
According to the documents from the latest Pakistan LNG tender, PetroChina International Singapore offered the lowest bid at a price slope—that is a percentage of the Brent oil contract—of 8.594 percent, for a delivery window on February 16-17. PetroChina beat commodity traders Gunvor and Trafigura and the trading arm of SOCAR to the lowest bid in the Pakistani tender.
It’s not certain if Pakistan will award this tender, because it sometimes chooses not to buy. But the fact that China is offering LNG so cheaply points to the persistent LNG glut on the Asian markets.
According to Bloomberg, this was at least the second time in which PetroChina has offered the lowest bid in an LNG tender in Pakistan.
This year, Asian spot LNG prices are at their lowest ever for this time of the season.
Last week was the first week since October in which spot LNG prices in Asia increased week on week. Asian LNG spot prices for delivery in January rose to US $5.65 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) last week, up by 15 cents from the previous week, trading sources told Reuters. Related: Iran Holds End Of Year Fire Sale For Crude Oil
Still, prices were at their lowest for this time of the year, because of ample LNG supply and tepid demand growth with milder weather earlier in the heating season.
While the lower LNG prices create some demand in India, for example, overall demand in Asia this winter is certainly not growing at the record-breaking pace of the past three years. The reason—supply is more than enough, as new volumes continue to come out of the U.S., Australia, and to an extent, Russia.
Last month, a Singaporean buyer of a U.S. cargo of LNG canceled the loading, as both Asia and Europe are facing an LNG glut. Some other customers of U.S. LNG cargoes are also reportedly considering paying for those cargoes but not loading them, traders have told Reuters.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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